Veterans Day

Floor Speech

By:  Mitch McConnell
Date: Nov. 10, 2009
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, tomorrow is Veterans Day, the day we set aside to honor the service and sacrifice of the heroic men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. America remains a beacon of freedom throughout the world today because of commitments and sacrifices they have made. Over the years, many brave Americans donned their country's uniform to ensure we would remain safe and free at home. That effort continues today as our fighting forces courageously defend freedom from threats in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere around the world.

My own State of Kentucky has a proud military history, and today is home both to Fort Knox and Fort Campbell, which together house thousands of soldiers. Many have gone from vital training at these two posts to protecting our Nation in the heart of the fight in Afghanistan and Iraq.

So tomorrow, as America takes a moment to thank these brave men and women who fought to preserve our way of life and to remember the heroes who did not return home, we will also give thanks for the men and women in uniform who are currently in harm's way.

I might say, every Veterans Day I remember my own father, who served in World War II. He arrived in Europe after the Battle of the Bulge and was there until his unit met the Russians in Pilsen. One of my treasured possessions is a letter he wrote to my mother on V-E Day. They called it V-E Day at the time. He wrote ``V-E Day'' at the top of the letter. That began a series of correspondence in that period right after the cease-fire and the Germans' surrender in which he had at one point prophetically--and this was just a foot soldier--prophetically mentioned to my mother after his experience interacting with the Russians in Pilsen that they were going to be a big problem down the road. I thought it was quite noteworthy that a regular foot soldier sort of instinctively understood at the moment that the Russians were an ally of convenience in World War II and not a long-term ally.

Regretfully, both my mother and father are no longer living, but I do remember them fondly and reread their correspondence from time to time of that period when he was overseas.

Later today, the Fort Hood community will honor the victims of the tragic shootings there last week. We were all shocked by the assault on American soldiers right in the heart of a post they call home. We mourn their loss, and we pray for the victims and their families.

In the midst of this terrible tragedy, we also saw the courage of many troops and civilian law enforcement, and we thank these brave men and women for their dedication that they showed in putting themselves in harm's way.

So we honor every American who has fought for this country, and we recognize this country was built on what they have sacrificed.

I yield the floor.

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